Spain’s 10th seed Nicolas Almagro is through to the Australian Open quarterfinals after Serbian opponent Janko Tipsarevic was forced to retire in the second set of Sunday’s fourth round encounter with a foot complaint.
Almagro led 6-2 5-1 when Tipsarevic retired, the Spaniard advancing to his first Australian Open quarterfinal.
Tipsarevic, the eighth seed, said the injury occurred when he tried to change direction when down 4-2 in the first set.
“I don’t know how I managed to do it but I completely screwed up my left heel,” he said.
“I haven’t seen the doctor yet... and I don’t know what he’s going to say.”
Trailing 5-2, Tipsarevic requested a medical timeout, receiving treatment on his left foot before dropping the set in the next game.
The 28-year-old’s condition didn’t improve in the second, and an aggressive Almagro, who continued to hit the lines, secured a double break before his opponent succumbed.
A reoccurring theme in Tipsarevic’s interviews of late has been his drive to take every opportunity with both hands.
Despite having spent a total of 10 hours and 42 minutes on court at this year’s tournament, including two five-setters and an emotion-charged three-hour battle against Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt in the first round, he said he felt fresh heading into the match.
An injury of this nature was obviously a bitter pill to swallow. Post-match, a visibly disappointed Tipsarevic was left to ponder what could have been.
“Nico (Almagro) was playing great tennis, hitting the ball powerfully from both wings. But I was feeling great today, I wasn’t feeling tired at all from my previous matches,” he said.
“It was a beautiful day for tennis and I really felt I could play well. And I could not be more pissed off with the way I finished the competition.”
Almagro, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament, admitted his opponent’s struggles did play on his mind to some degree.
“I was trying to be focused on my match and my tennis. I think I played a really good first set, after that the mind start to work a bit because you know something happened,” he said.
Entrenched in the top 15 for the past two years, the Spaniard now has the chance to progress to a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time in his career, but he must break new ground to get there. Countryman and world No.5 David Ferrer awaits in the final eight, a man who Almagro is yet to beat in their 12 previous meetings dating back to 2006.
“I never beat him, but maybe here will be the first time.”
“It will be a good fight. I know him, he knows me. We never played in a Grand Slam ... it’s a big opportunity for me to make a semifinal
“I need to be ready for a big fight.”